Category Archives: Caring for Family Member

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Is Amazon the Scapegoat in the Debate on Employee Leave Entitlements? What's the Lesson Here for Employers?

Amazon has been making headlines lately.  And it’s not because the company is offering generous discounts on Amazon prime delivery. Over the past few weeks, Amazon has been hit hard in the media after several current and former employees made allegations that the company pushes its employees to the brink and effectively forces out employees who take leaves of absence.  In a … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Must an Employer Provide Intermittent FMLA Leave So An Employee Can Attend to an Autistic Child?

Q:  One of our employees, a front desk receptionist, maintains an erratic work schedule because she must attend to her autistic son.  In short, her son throws a tantrum at school if his mom does not personally drop him off and pick him up from school.  For instance, he hides under a table, refuses to participate, and becomes very aggressive … Continue Reading

Managing FMLA Red Flags and Staying Ahead of the Trends: A Recap of our Webinar

Thanks to those who attended my webinar last week with Ellen McCann on “Managing Red Flags and Staying Ahead of the Trends.”  If you missed the program, you can access the webinar and materials here. In a mere hour, Ellen and I covered a number of hot FMLA topics and trends, such as: Conducting an … Continue Reading

Dear Employers: We Have to Stop Sticking It to Pregnant Moms and Expectant Dads

Although I eagerly anticipate the arrival of a baby due to be born in the Nowak family within the next couple of weeks [number 4…somebody help me!], I assure you that my status as “expectant dad” is not clouding my objectivity regarding the rights of moms and dads in the workplace. But the fact of … Continue Reading

Did a Court Just Allow an Employee FMLA Leave to Care for Her Grandchild?

Grandparents across America are celebrating this week.  And they have Suzan Gienapp to thank.  Here’s why: The Facts Suzan, who worked for Harbor Crest (a nursing home), informed her manager in January 2011 that she needed time off to care for her daughter, who was undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer.  Harbor Crest granted her FMLA leave. … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Announces Proposed Rule Extending FMLA Leave Rights for Same-Sex Couples

The Department of Labor announced today a proposed rule that would allow an employee to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse, regardless of whether the employee lives in a state that recognizes their marital status.  As expected, the DOL has adopted a “state of celebration” rule, in which a spousal status for purposes of … Continue Reading

How Does the Fall of DOMA Impact the FMLA and Other Employee Benefits?

Unless you’ve been securely wedged under a rock over the past 24 hours, you know that the U.S. Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had established a federal definition of marriage as a legal union only between one man and one woman.   Yesterday, as Justice Anthony Kennedy read … Continue Reading

FMLA Leave for Same-Sex Couples to be Clarified by Supreme Court's DOMA Decision?

This past Friday, the United States Supreme Court announced that it would consider whether the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unlawfully denies benefits to gay and lesbian couples who are married in states that allow such unions.  A Supreme Court decision nullifying DOMA could have wide ranging impacts, including how the Family and Medical Leave … Continue Reading

Are Employees Eligible for FMLA Leave When A Natural Disaster Strikes?

Natural disasters like the kind we recently have witnessed in the flood-ravaged areas of the southern United States raise a host of issues for employers.  Some wonder whether they are required to pay their employees during suspended operations; others are unsure whether and to what extent health benefits should be offered.  But what about an employer’s obligation to … Continue Reading

Employee's Failure to Return Supervisor's Phone Calls Dooms FMLA Claim

When an employee’s request for medical leave is vague or is unclear, the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations specifically allow (in fact, they require) the employer to question the employee further to determine whether the absence potentially qualifies under the FMLA.  When the employee fails to respond to these reasonable inquiries, the employee may lose … Continue Reading

The Massachusetts Same-Sex Marriage Rulings And The FMLA

The Department of Labor’s recent Administrative Interpretation regarding FMLA leave for those acting in loco parentis to a child placed the spotlight on the application of FMLA leave to same-sex couples with children. However, the ruling did not address how the FMLA applies to situations where an employee seeks FMLA leave to provide care not … Continue Reading
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